Eagles spoil another homecoming
C-P, Quitman heading for showdown of unbeatens

Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Sept. 25, 2004 - GRAND SALINE - The Como-Pickton Eagles spoiled a homecoming contest for the second straight week Friday night, this time against district rival Grand Saline, 32-20, to open 17-2A play.

"I thought we were in it the whole way, and it was just a tight ballgame," coach Joe Ryzman said. "We came out playing hard in the first quarter, and we played hard all four quarters, because that is what we had to do."

CPHS (5-0, 1-0 in district) defeated the Collinsville Pirates 35-20 during their homecoming last week and now will prepare for a district showdown against the Quitman Bulldogs (5-0, 1-0 in district) Friday night at Ron Heflin Field.

The Eagles finished last season at 1-9 overall and 1-6 in district play and will look to avenge a 49-0 loss last year to the Bulldogs in Quitman.

"Next week's game will be a very physical game on both sides of the ball," Ryzman said. "Quitman will probably run the same thing they did last year, and they are going to have good size and more speed than Grand Saline."

Clay Hamessley opened up the scoring in the first quarter for the Indians on a fourth down and one play from the Eagles 1-yard line with 4:17 remaining in the first quarter. The PAT attempt was blocked by Reece Cadell and Ronnie Hightower to give GSHS a 6-0 lead.

C-P senior running back Tyrin Porter picked up his 11th touchdown of the year exactly one minute later when he broke free for 58 yards to paydirt. Noe Tellez nailed the PAT good to give the Eagles a 7-6 lead.

In the second quarter, neither team got anything going until the final play of the half as Eagle quarterback Josh Biggerstaff powered his way in from 1 yard out for his seventh rushing touchdown of the season and a 13-6 lead. The score would stay that way going into the lockerroom as the Indians stopped Biggerstaff on the extra point run attempt.

Grand Saline cut the Eagles deficit to 13-12 in the third quarter as Joseph Daugherty scampered 26 yards for the touchdown. The two-point conversion failed as the CPHS defense stopped the run attempt with 10:22 remaining in the quarter.

The score by Daugherty was the first points allowed by the Eagles' defense in the second half this year as they had outscored opponents 80-0 in second half action.

"I was really proud of the defense, and I was proud of the offense to be able to improvise and execute some different plays and adapt to what they were doing to us on defense," Ryzman said.

Early in the fourth quarter, Biggerstaff attempted a pass to Bo Baxter in double coverage to get the Eagles around the Indians 20-yard line but the ball was tipped and intercepted by Grand Saline.

Baxter was called for offensive pass interference in the process and then at the end of the play, Grand Saline received an off-setting holding penalty giving the ball to the Indians.

"It was a bad call but you know you can sit there as a coach and question those calls that will not be reversed or you can think ahead to the next play and prepare yourself," Ryzman said.

With 4:47 remaining in the game, junior Ray Hayden went 54 yards on a pass from Biggerstaff to extend the CPHS lead to 19-12. Como-Pickton missed the two-point conversion as the run failed by Porter.

On the Indians' next possession, Biggerstaff intercepted the pass from Hamessley and scampered 48 yards for the touchdown. Tellez missed the PAT and the Eagles were in business at 25-12.

That was until Clay found his brother Clint Hamessley on a 15-yard pass late in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 25-18. Grand Saline went for two and Matthew Johnson received the pass from Hamessley in the back of the end zone to make it a five-point ballgame with 2:40 remaining.

"When there are tight ballgames and two evenly matched teams like this, it all comes down to a few specific plays in the game and one in particular was the fourth-down stand in the fourth quarter when we stopped them deep in their territory, and that was a key play in the game," Ryzman said.

C-P sealed the win when Hayden went 55 yards down the sideline on his final carry of the game to give the Eagles a 31-20 advantage. Tellez nailed his second PAT good in the contest.

"You have seen that we can play with anyone in our district," Ryzman said. "We have got the 11 kids that can do it and we are 16 strong. The key once again is coming down to injuries, and we had some tonight."

Porter had 113 yards on 22 carries against the Indians and now has 872 yards on 82 carries during his senior season, while Hayden had nine carries for 95 yards and one touchdown rushing in the game. He also had one touchdown reception.

Biggerstaff went 3-for-9 for 112 yards and two interceptions, with Ronnie Hightower leading the Eagles with 58 yards on two receptions.

Daugherty was the leading rusher for the Indians with 110 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown in the loss, while Clay Hamessley had 18 carries for 47 yards and threw for 50 yards on six-of-19 passing with two interceptions.

"I guess really one of keys of this game was the kids' determination not to give in, to be tired and giving into pain because we had some kids that had bumps and bruises out there and those kids stayed in and played with heart and came out with the win," Ryzman said.

In other district 17-2A action, the Quitman Bulldogs blanked the Alba-Golden Panthers 54-0, while Edgewood improved to 4-1 on the year with a 35-7 win over Caddo Mills. Lone Oak had the bye this week and will host Edgewood next week.

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